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306: Crazy Like a Fox

Topics:

-The crew starts off the show by discussing Multiple PSAs

-Jerry is able to turn a break/fix client into recurring revenue.  He describes the story of attempting to restore from backup and the hoops he had to jump through to get the job done

-Both Joe and Jerry I talk about the dangers of excluding folders from a time machine back up

-Thanks to Mike Bombeck at Carbon Copy Cloner, Jerry is able to follow steps to downgrade a fusion drive on APFS
https://bombich.com/kb/ccc5/downgrading-apfs-formatted-fusion-volume-from-mojave

-Since Jerry‘s client had updated their operating system on their own, Joe describes the dangers of downgrading and suggests spending that consulting time moving the client forward to the current OS

-An offshoot of Jerry’s Time Machine discussion is APFS conversion and how this process is different in Mojave

-Jerry reveals a bit about how he bills his managed service clients and they discuss the pros and cons of various billing methods

-On the heels of the downgrading conversation, Joe describes having to reinstall High Sierra in order to get Safari working again. Jerry wonders if using Pacifist by Charlesoft would allow viewing the packages in the macOS Installer: https://www.charlessoft.com

-As Joe goes into a story about managing multiple Photos libraries, he discovers that this client has a short lived product called Bevy to centralize their photos.

-Jerry wants to know if he used Power Photos to get the job done
https://www.fatcatsoftware.com/powerphotos/

-Joe delivers a prime example of the standards that his company adheres to by investigating and diagnosing files on a linux device and coming away with the win in converting them to jpg to be used in Photos

-Joe reveals a hidden gem in the Finder which allows batch renaming files

080: "Smart" apostrophe

Recorded live on December 9, 2014

Many thanks to our sponsor this week, Watchman Monitoring. We use and highly recommend Watchman Monitoring. Sign up for your free trial at watchmanmonitoring.com/cmdctrlpwr and tweet @cmdctrlpwr #CCPsentme to support the show! Here's an example of a smart Watchman alert: "Battery condition has changed to Service Battery." Let your client know they need to replace their battery before their next trip!

Topics:

- Joe found that "smart" apostrophe (actually a right single curved quotation mark) in the Computer Name caused a client's Time Machine backup to fail; replacing it with an actual apostrophe (straight single quote) fixed it

- Jerry expresses frustrations when trying to walk a client through initiating a "spontaneous" screen sharing session and walks us through some alternatives to TeamViewer and finds the free trial of join.me to be easiest

- Jerry's client is tickled to teach him something

- Jerry's analogy about where the space on his MacBook Air is going: it's like "the help" stealing silverware piece by piece for a year until Thanksgiving comes and you only have place settings for two and a half

- Time Machine's Local Snapshots (Mobile Backups) can take up space and fail to be removed:
sudo tmutil disablelocal
sudo mv /.MobileBackups.trash /Trashme

- OmniDiskSweeper, DaisyDisk, WhatSize will not see the .MobileBackups folder unless run as root

- Joe's client deliberates for so long about upgrading iCloud storage (to enable iCloud Backup) that it could have paid for two years of iCloud storage

077: Trust No One, Yoseminite Sam

Recorded on November 19, 2014

Topics

- Jerry bails out Joe onsite, and diagnoses an issue where a specific website wouldn't load or respond to pings from a client location, but loaded fine from elsewhere; turned out to be a block on the client's static IP due to three failed login attempts

- we discuss clients trying to set things up and fix things themselves

Yoseminite Sam: a no-nonsense guy

Yoseminite Sam: a no-nonsense guy

- do you give clients easy access to their servers, e.g. Screen Sharing?

- Sam lands a client on bowtie alone: "I'm a no-nonsense guy, and you look like a no-nonsense guy too."

- what's your dress code for consulting?

- Joe details troubleshooting serious permissions issues in Yosemite after a prior "consultant" tried to set up shared calendars

- how do you bill for extensive cleanup work like the saga Joe describes?

- Joe notices a pattern to Security Questions answered by a prior consultant

076: Interview with John Chaffee of BusyMac, formerly of Now Software

Recorded live on November 11, 2014

Many thanks to our sponsor this week, Watchman Monitoring. We're all very happy users of Watchman Monitoring. Sign up for your free trial at watchmanmonitoring.com/cmdctrlpwr and tweet @cmdctrlpwr #CCPsentme to support the show! Here's and example of a smart Watchman alert: "Time Machine AutoBackup was enabled, but is now off." Time Machine may not be completing its backups on schedule

Special thanks to our guest this week, John Chaffee of BusyMac, gearing up for the much-anticipated premiere of BusyContacts. Listen to the show for 20% off!

- John takes us on a trip down memory lane, including the history of Now Software, BusyMac, BusyCal, and now BusyContacts

- remember Now Utilities? see this TidBITS from 1994 for context (note the CompuServe email address at the bottom)

Power On Software acquired Now Software and rebranded as Now Software in early 2000's

- Calendar and Contacts cloud syncing options (iCloud, Google, Exchange, Kerio, Zimbra, Fruux, OS X Server, etc.)

- Mac App Store challenges

- how to wisely roll out a public beta (i.e. BusyContacts)

063: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Recorded live on August 12, 2014

Topics:

- origin stories: how we (Jerry, Sam, and Joe) got into this racket

- how to make the transition: going from working for a company to working for yourself

- moonlighting vs. jumping in with both feet

- is entrepreneurship "in the blood"?

Also:

- Aces Conf in New Orleans, LA, May 2015; acesconf.com; great opportunity to see Luis Giraldo of Ook and Justin Esgar of Virtua Computers talk shop and focus on business processes

Special Feature: CCP Video Chat with Chuck Joiner on MacVoices

We were recently honored to be invited to Chuck Joiner's popular MacVoices podcast – "the Talk of the Mac Community."

Command Control Power on MacVoices

Command Control Power on MacVoices

Wondering what we look like and how we work? Curious about what kind of headphones and microphones we use?

Check us out in all our video glory!

MacVoices #14187: The Crew From Command-Control-Power Discuss Apple Consulting from All Sides

054: Interview with Brian Best from BestMacs and Mac-MSP Gruntwork

Recorded live June 10, 2014

- Brian got started on the Mac in the days of nine-inch monochrome screens and System 6; began working on Macs professionally in 1996; started BestMacs in 1999

- when transforming his consultancy to Managed Services, Brian developed a suite of tools in-house to be released under the Mac-MSP brand; the first to be released is Gruntwork for automating maintenance; a remote screen sharing and remote login (SSH) tool called Blue Sky is coming soon

- Gruntwork can be compared to CasperSuite; uses Munki for software updates

- the importance of working more on the business instead of in the business as the business grows

- Mac-MSP offers discounts to Apple Consultants Network members and subscribers of Watchman Monitoring

- going "all in" when transitioning to Managed Services from hourly billing: having a referral to another consultant ready for clients who don't want Managed Services helps avoid leaving clients in the lurch

- Allen's "Personal Support" plan; Easing Into Managed Services

- Gruntwork proudly displays the service provider's branding; demonstrates value by reminding users that maintenance is being run

- @Siracusa: Gruntwork will run a live disk verification, and if it fails, will automatically restart in Single User mode, run the disk repair, log the result, restart normally, and report the result #HFS+

- Apple should buy Alsoft and build DiskWarrior into the Recovery Partition and diskutil

- how to price managed services; don't undercharge, match the old pricing at a minimum

- demo videos at mac-msp.com/demo

Special note from Smile this week: We're offering a 20% discount on licenses to PDFpen and PDFpenPro, and we'll donate a matching license of PDFpen or PDFpenPro to the nonprofit of a user's choice. We're calling it "Get a Little, Give a Lot."  To participate, purchase a single user, family pack, or office pack license of PDFpen or PDFpenPro from the Smile web store using the coupon code “nonprofit” during the week of June 9th through 15th. Once the order is complete, forward your confirmation email to nonprofit@smilesoftware.com and include the following information about the nonprofit: Name of nonprofit, Contact at nonprofit, Email of contact.

042: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 2

Recorded March 2, 2014

Sponsored by MoonClerk

This is part two of a special two-part Managed Services roundtable feature six members of the Apple Consultants Network, discussing the benefits of a Managed Services pricing model and how to transition a traditional hourly-billing consultancy into offering Managed Services.

Thanks to our brand new sponsor, MoonClerk – an easy and inexpensive way to collect recurring payments for your subscription services.

Thanks also to our special guests for this roundtable:

Allen Hancock, The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring
Luis Giraldo, Ook Enterprises and MonkeyBox
Kevin Ginger, kGinger Consulting

Topics:

- offering clients "self service" options through CasperSuite or RobotCloud

- building a "book of service" to work toward an exit plan for your consultancy; building something of value; getting acquired

- the benefits of talking about your service offerings to get comfortable pitching them to clients

- the fact is, servers should be managed proactively to ensure reliability, and Managed Services is a natural way to provide proactive services, billed automatically on a monthly basis consistent with the way services are rendered

- with Mission Critical services, the consultant takes on a psychological burden to ensure that the services keep working; Managed Services makes it equitable for the consultant

Resources:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/acn-alumni

http://watchmanmonitoring.com/acn-benefit

https://www.watchmanmonitoring.com/sample-agreement/

http://mhelpdesk.com/better-way-to-inform-customers-about-how-they-are-being-billed/

http://community.watchmanmonitoring.com

http://mac-msp.com

Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss

Small Biz Thoughts by Karl W. Palachuk

Tools:

Watchman Monitoring

MonkeyBox

MoonClerk

ZenDesk

mHelpDesk

TeamViewer

Support menu by Forget Computers

RobotCloud

Casper Suite

Backup Minder

041: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 1

Recorded March 2, 2014

Sponsored by MoonClerk

This is part one of a special two-part Managed Services roundtable feature six members of the Apple Consultants Network, discussing the benefits of a Managed Services pricing model and how to transition a traditional hourly-billing consultancy into offering Managed Services.

Thanks to our brand new sponsor, MoonClerk – an easy and inexpensive way to collect recurring payments for your subscription services.

Thanks also to our special guests for this roundtable:
Allen Hancock, The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring
Luis Giraldo, Ook Enterprises and MonkeyBox
Kevin Ginger, kGinger Consulting

Topics:

- using half-day and full-day rates to discourage "tire-kickers" and very infrequent break-fix clients, helping to position Managed Services as a better alternative

- should a Managed Services Provider include Help Desk services? end-user training? value-adds vs. just keeping the systems running

- transitioning from "one-man-show" to managed services consultancy; see also: CCP 013: Easing into Managed Services with Allen Hancock and 010: Managed Services discussion with Luis Giraldo

- developing systems for consistency, standardization to improve efficiency

Quantifying the Value of Managed Services blog post by Luis

- "first 15 minutes free for $_/mo" is a good first step; relieves burden bulk hours

- business clients are more efficient billing-wise, and from the perspective of delivering value

- residential clients are higher-maintenance, higher-touch, more-demanding, and less efficient

- yet, Allen points out that residential clients can be more satisfying to work with, and when charging hourly it doesn't matter because they all pay the same rate

- enforcing the use of a help desk ticketing system

- user training: why should users use your ticketing system?

- reminding clients to restart

Memorable lines:

- "Hourly billing breeds inefficiency." – Luis (see also: "how hourly billing is the scum of the Earth" in 010: Managed Services discussion with Luis Giraldo)

"All inclusive billing breeds efficiency." – Luis

"We hate spending time tracking time." – Luis

"Allen, is there any way to wire that support menu to a restart command?" – Joe
"And we don't need to save, right?" – Allen
"If they call, their call can be directed to voicemail if they haven't restarted." – Joe
"Spoken like a true 'break/fix man'." – Luis

039: Goto Fail

Recorded live February 25, 2014

Exclusive sponsor this week: Smile, makers of TextExpander and the PDFpen Family, which includes PDFpen for Mac, PDFpen for iPad, PDFpen for iPhone, and PDFpen Scan+. PDFpen makes it easy to go mobile with PDFpen on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. You can have PDFpen’s editing power on all your devices. PDFpen Scan+, the newest member of the PDFpen Family, lets you add scanning and OCR to your mobile toolkit. PDFpenPro offers extra PDF power on the Mac, including interactive form creation, creating PDFs from websites, and editing tables of contents. Visit smilesoftware.com/restart for details and a brief video introduction to the PDFpen Family.

Topics:

- Joe asks and answers: what is the "J" that appears in some emails? (J is a smiley face in the WingDings font)

- Joe wonders why some people include an extra "P" at the bottom of some emails, i.e. "P Please consider the environment before printing this email" (the P is supposed to be a nice forest scene in the WebDings font)

- Jerry reports being able to receive email using Mail.app in Mavericks version 10.9.2.

- Apple's Goto Fail SSL bug: strategies for proactively notifying clients; timing of updates; test your system at gotofail.com

- Sam's Mavericks 101 class "aha moments"

- Sam recommends Revise IT training app by Amsys

- security concerns about Target Disk Mode and resetpassword utility on Recovery partition

- Jerry, Sam, and our live listeners offer Joe some ideas about what to do when Time Capsule fills up

- Joe offers a tip: temporarily "promote" clients to VIP in order to receive notifications when they email you back about something pertinent, for example when coordinating a time to meet, or if you want to know immediately when a client confirms you should proceed with some work

028: Client Gifting and Consultant Go Bags

Recorded live on November 26, 2013

Follow Up:

Joe installed Knock app last week and noticed that it moved itself from the ~/Downloads folder to the /Applications folder without needing to authenticate despite being logged into a standard user account. Joe checked permissions on /Applications and found that the folder permissions were configured to give Everyone Read/Write access. Repaired permissions for the first time in forever and it corrected this and a few other things.

Topics:

New Mac Pro on December 3rd?  Expect Promise to release new Pegasus 2 alongside Apple's Mac Pro release.  Look for discounts on original Promise Pegasus models.

Jony Ive biography by Leander Kahney, recommended by Jerry

Fast Company Weekend Reading: An Oral History of Apple

Guest Pass app to generate iOS profile granting temporary access to a wifi network

KeyCard app to lock and unlock your Mac based on iOS device proximity

Indigo for home automation

Nest Thermostat and Smoke Alarm

Client gifts: how to select clients? Contract clients? Nurturing existing client relationships and rekindling old client relationships.

Client gift ideas: chocolate macaroons, iKlear kits, scotch

Tip from Ryan Powell: I gift throughout the year by giving new clients a "new client care package" with little Klear singles, microfiber cloth, referral cards  drive savers pamphlet and an explanation of my monthly support plan. The referral card is a little elevator pitch about the company, short link to the contact form with the promise of a free phone consultation, then when a client books an appointment I'm sure to give the referring client a small account credit as a thank you.

Sending a Thank You cards to new clients

Referral credit vs. something tangible like an iTunes gift card

What's in your Consultant Go Bag? Examples:

  • MagSafe to MagSafe 2
  • Thunderbolt to FireWire
  • Thunderbolt to Ethernet
  • USB to Ethernet
  • Ethernet cables
  • USB flash drive with partitions for Mac OS installations, diagnostics
  • FireWire 400 to 800
  • FireWire 800 to 800
  • USB, mini USB, micro USB
  • USB to Lightning
  • USB to 30-pin
  • iPhone Headphones
  • Tools including screwdrivers, spudger, putty knife
  • Memory assortment for all Intel Macs from lifetimememory.com

Joe's current bag: iBackFlip Somersault

020: Client Anecdotes & Rates

Recorded Live October 8, 2013

Topics:

- Quicken 2007 for Lion; migrating from Quicken 2003

- Sam's story about his client's self-help attempt: the client diagnosed a server's startup disk failing, erased the Time Machine backup, cloned a copy of the data to it, and then when the clone wouldn't boot, they called their trusted advisor (Sam) to swoop in and heroically save the day.

- liquid spills, and the accompanying story

- what to do when a client declines a backup recommendation

- Jerry's story of the need for a consultant to support legacy equipment

- Joe raised his rates recently; here's how

- new services; group class offering; break-even analysis

Memorable Lines:

"Step 1: Diagnose drive failure; step 2: erase the backup." - Joe

Picks of the Week:

PowerBookMedic.com 

SignMyPad.com  

012: Welcome new members - part 2

An extended water cooler chat with Jerry, Sam, and Joe, discussing issues facing new ACN members, featuring tips from seasoned pros.

Followup:

- iPhone 5S: Joe doubles down on prediction from Episode 002 that new iPhone would be called iPhone 5S, the S for Secure. Last week, iOS 7 beta 4 leaked a new folder called “BiometricKitUI" including strings containing VoiceOver text describing a "photo of a person holding an iPhone with their left hand while touching the Home button with their thumb"; home button fingerprint scanner + passcode = two factor authentication, iCloud Keychain providing seamless integration with Safari on the Mac

Topics:

- sending clients to the local Apple Stores for good will and possible referrals vs. earning extra cash for your referrals through the Apple Business Affiliate and Apple Store Affiliate programs

- the added pressures of actively selling your services and promoting a solution vs. passively offering to help

- Jerry does a client impersonation

- what not to do: don't bash a previous tech

- what to do: trust your gut; trust your instinct; let a new client know about the fee in advance and get paid at the time services are rendered; carry a Square card reader and take credit card payment using your iPhone; don't let too much time go by before collecting accounts receivable; document everything; get paid; get a good read on a new client and don't be afraid to say no

- ACN Plus membership; ACN Member Store coupons

- ACN Company membership; multiple locations

- Terms of Service

Memorable lines:

"Don't bash a previous tech." – Sam

Mentions:

LightSpeed

Daylite

Highrise

 

011: Welcome new members - part 1

An extended water cooler chat with Jerry, Sam, and Joe, discussing issues facing new ACN members, featuring tips from seasoned pros.

Followup:

- Gary Hustwit, director of the Helvetica and Objectified documentaries tweeted that the correct pronunciation of Helvetica Neue is "noya"

- Command-Control-power "Have you tried restarting?" first generation shirts funded!

Topics:

- hybrid Managed Services offerings; Joe's "Tech Checkup", Sam's "Wellness Visits"; Jerry's offering periodic monthly maintenance to check backups, check disks, run updates; discounted rate when paying for six or twelve months in advance

- the advantages of sporting an Apple logo onsite and in public; whether or not to advertise on your car; great sources for logo merchandise aside from the ACN-direct options: ZuseQueensboro

- Apple Professional Services; operating as an arm of Apple; how to get involved with APS? face time with Apple, building a reputation over time

- Francois Daumard, formerly heading up Mobile Technology Competency at Apple in the Apple Consultants Network, left Apple a couple of weeks ago to join Fiberlink, sellers of MaaS360, a cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution

- Apple Remote Desktop frustrations; Jerry coins a phrase for dealing with the black screen of doom: "cleaning the windshield"

Memorable lines:

"There's just these big black chunks of blocks and you have to open up a new Finder window and drag it around to have it clean the windshield." – Jerry

Mentions:

- Passenger